Stewart Rasmussen, America's first openly transgender mayor, has passed away at 73, having lost a fight with cancer. The death was announced by Kyle Palmer, who currently holds the office.
Rasmussen died last Wednesday, Silverton, Oregon mayor Kyle Palmer said in a Facebook post, noting that his death had come "after a number of weeks under home hospice care for metastatic prostate cancer."
"His longtime love Victoria (Sage) noted that 'he went bravely into the unknown on his own terms,'" Palmer added.
Rasmussen was first elected mayor in 1988 before being re-elected in 1990. The former mayor came out as transgender in the 1990s. Sage told the Statesman Journal newspaper that her partner was not concerned about pronoun usage and accepted both he/him or she/her.
Rasmussen also served as mayor from 2008 to 2014, being elected on that occasion while openly transgender. His leadership prompted backlash from the Westboro Baptist Church who staged protests against the mayor. According to Palmer, the Westboro protesters "were met by a large crowd of demonstrating citizens - many of them wearing dresses" showing their support for Rasmussen.
"He set an example for members of our community who needed to see that it was safe to live their lives openly in our community," Palmer added.